Coming out in the wash… October 2008.

This evening I did something I haven’t done for five years or so; it used to be a big thing in my life, but along with so much analogue, it got swept away in the digital tide.

I developed a film.

A black and white film, which has been sitting around – and moved flat with me – for about four years and a half years (maybe five, I can’t remember).

I have been aware of this film sitting there, undeveloped – incipient images, waiting to be rediscovered – since I took it. I can’t quite remember why I didn’t develop it at the time. There are a handful of other films, exposed, waiting to be dunked in the chemicals (acid and alkali) – but this was the one I really wanted.

It was shot at a party in Bristol – a surprise dinner party. I didn’t use flash, so it was lit by candles, and I pushed the film to some extreme speeds (if you’re interested, 3200 ASA).

I was the decoy for the surprise, which didn’t necessarily sit well with me: I am not very good at lying, and I had to follow some pretty elaborate stories invented by K. to convince G. The stories involved going to a jazz concert outside Bristol, and frankly I didn’t think it would wash.

As the decoy, I had to keep G. occupied from about midday until about six in the evening, which involved going to lunch and then going to a pub, and then going to another pub. I at least got pretty drunk – I was smashed well before the party started.

It was quite a lavish affair. Lots of food; lots of wine. Candles – my favourite light for portraits. There were a couple of names there – names I recognised, but not the faces: an heiress and a newsreader, apparently; I can’t remember either, now.

After the party, we gathered at G.&K.’s house. I had brought down a bottle of whisky – Bowmore, I think – and we proceeded to drink it. Which fuckwit’s idea was that?! (Erm, actually, mine, but I was too drunk to make sense, and someone really should have stopped me.)

I was very ill – the worst hangover I had had in a very long time, and I haven’t had one to match it since. (This, by the way, is a really good thing.)

* * * *

I am going down to Bristol on Thursday, to see G.&K. and R.&J., who emigrated to New Zealand just after that party, and are back in the UK visiting family and friends. I thought it was about time that I had a look at what was on the film.

Not a great deal, frankly; maybe age got to it, but more likely it was booze and a lack of light, with a dash of lack of experience on my role in the process this evening.

It is hard to tell at this stage anyhow: I need to wait for the film to dry. I shall have a look at it when it is dry, see if there is anything worth playing around with – and then scan what I can.

I may even post the results!


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